The need to form meaningful relationships with others is built into each of us. The fulfillment of this need is important for the healthy development of the human spirit. We were created as social beings. We enter in to marriage agreements, seek friendships, attend social events, join churches, become club members, play on teams, and have families.
It is our natural inclination to connect with others. Some of our most enjoyable and meaningful experiences in life come from relationships with others. So too, some of our greatest disappointments and pain are the result of relationships with others.
Humanity finds itself caught in the middle. On the one hand we desperately need and pursue relationships with others, yet so many times find the whole process to be among the most difficult challenges we face. Why?
At an early age we begin to develop our view of how the world is. It is sometimes called a paradigm; our belief about how things are suppose to be. Not everyone ends up with the same paradigm. Through years of experience, we form our unique view of the way things are. Our view or paradigm often comes in conflict with those of others. Therein lies the challenge for all of humanity; how to get along and form long lasting relationships when we do not see eye to eye. We will always find issues about which we disagree, but it need not destroy a marriage or end a long friendship or association. What are we to do?
- Seek to understand and align with God’s paradigm of love toward others.
- Test your assumptions. Your view might not be the only point of view and may even be inaccurate.
- Do not expect others to accept and follow your paradigm in every situation.
- Exercise patience and kindness when confronted with an opposing paradigm.
- Learn how to disagree agreeably.
- Work to find new solutions when paradigms collide.
- Practice humility during a paradigm conflict.
- Admit when you are wrong and let it go. Be teachable.
- Seek to honestly understand the other person’s point of view before you express your own.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry… James 1:19 (NIV)
Mr. Tom Kennedy has been working in the people field for over thirty years, has traveled, spoken at churches, worked in the public sector, provided leadership for the local Intermediate School District in Marysville Michigan, and held conferences in many states around issues of family relationships. Family is his passion! Tom is leading our Free Pre-Marriage Counseling Group starting next month and enjoys meeting with individuals, couples, and young adults to share ways to build their relationships with others.